OSU Extension Blogs

Rural Living Basics

Small Farms Events - 6 hours 12 min ago
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM

This class is designed for rural residents to learn the basics of groundwater, water wells, and septic systems. Learn steps to protect the health of your family, neighbors, animals, your property investment, and the safety of groundwater resources.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Dry Farming Collaborative Winter Grower's Meeting

Small Farms Events - 6 hours 12 min ago
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • 9 – 9:30 am – Welcome and introductions
  • 9:30 – 10:15 – Overview of Project and Results  - Amy Garrett and Andy Gallagher
  • 10:15 – 10:30 – Coffee/snack break
  • 10:30 – 11:30 – Dry Farming Roundtable discussion – each dry farming trial host will take 5-10 minutes to highlight their results and experience this year with dry farming – what worked well or not so well, what varieties stood out, etc
  • 11:30 – 12:30 – Discuss next years trials (treatments, crops, varieties, locations) and future directions of this project
  • 12:30 – 2 pm – Potluck (featuring some of your dry farmed goods!) and networking

Deep Roots Coalition (http://www.deeprootscoalition.org/) may also be joining us to share about their work in promoting sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation, and doing a tasting during our potluck featuring their wine made exclusively with dry-farmed grapes. Various stakeholders and people doing work complementary to our efforts are being invited to attend and learn more about what we are doing  -  climatologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, GIS specialists, and freelance writers just to name a few. New ideas, resources, and collaborations may result!

 Please RSVP if you plan to attend: amy.garrett@oregonstate.edu

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Calving School

Small Farms Events - 6 hours 12 min ago
Thursday, December 8, 2016 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This program will consist of presentations, educational videos, and simulated calving assistance.  Presenters are Reinaldo Cooke, Beef Cattle Specialist, Shelby Filley, Regional Livestock and Forages Specialist, and Charles Estill, Extension Veterinarian.  Topics covered include:

  • The Calving Process
  • Nutritional and Management Strategies
  • Designing Calving Facilities
  • Dystocia and Calving Assistance
  • Diseases and Injuries
  • Managing Newborns

Cost $20 and includes the claving school handbook and pizza dinner. For more information please contact Shelby Filley

541-248-1088 or email: shelby.filley@oregonstate.edu


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Horses & Mud

Small Farms Events - 6 hours 12 min ago
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The rain is here and farms are muddy.  If you are a horse owner and the realization of several months of mucky barnyards, paddocks and pastures is driving you crazy, consider joining other’s in the same situation and make a plan to change your situation for the future.  During this two-hour class at the Lane County Extension office, we’ll:

  • Discuss options for reducing mud by designing all-weather paddocks
  • Talk about pasture management strategies
  • Consider ways to best compost horse manure

This class is taught by Melissa Fery, an Associate Professor of Practice with the OSU Extension Small Farms Program.

More info & registration available here: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/horses-mud

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Something to ponder while you enjoy that fire this winter

Tree Topics - 8 hours 47 min ago

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.


I was given Norwegian Wood this summer. No, not the Beatles’ famous 1965 single about a John Lennon romance.  The gift is a book about the Scandinavian romance with firewood.  Its full title is “Norwegian Wood: chopping, stacking and drying wood the Scandinavian way” (by Lars Mytting).  I loved it.  I would probably hesitate to admit that to most people, but Tree Topics and Compass readers are not most people.  You are wood people and will understand. 

Norwegian Wood is an embrace of all things firewood. It delves into the historic Scandinavian reliance on wood to heat hearth and home when having enough wood on hand (at far northern latitudes) was a matter of life and death.  That dependence seems to still shape the collective Scandinavian psyche.  People there respect wood.

Mytting opens the book with a story of where his own journey of discovery about wood began, a story of an elderly neighbor for whom the annual ritual of putting in the wood was a tonic, giving him renewed purpose and energy.  He goes on to describe the process of making firewood, the various kind of trees, the preferred tools (and some evolutionary history of chainsaws and axes), the advantages of different cutting, hauling, covering, stacking, stove design and fire building practices.

But especially stacking. The book abounds in handsome photos of woodpiles, with descriptions of the different methods of stacking.  It also has analysis (including citation of studies by the Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology) of various approaches.  The book includes stories of rural Norwegians, at least a couple octogenarians for whom making firewood remains a significant task, whatever the Doctor says.  A person may get too old for many things, but not too old for stacking firewood it seems.

There is no question that for many Norwegians and Swedes, firewood is not just necessity. It is a matter of pride and even art.  It is almost scary.  Many people there, perhaps even the culture as a whole seems to be suffering from a particular form of the Wood Sickness.

So I recommend the book to anyone who uses wood, but does so with some degree of attachment beyond the mere utility of it. This book is for us.  The topic is familiar, but the cultural context, tradition and ecological context (Scandinavia v Oregon) all make it fresh and entertaining reading that will give you new insight to something familiar.


The post Something to ponder while you enjoy that fire this winter appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Grazing for Green: Forages and the Sheep Industry

Small Farms Events - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 2:35pm
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - Saturday, December 3, 2016 (all day event)
More information available here: http://www.oregonforage.org/workshops-and-research/
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Field to Market Workshop Series -Douglas County

Small Farms Events - Sun, 11/20/2016 - 2:34pm
Sunday, November 20, 2016 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Field to Market Workshop Series - Fall 2016

Lacto-Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.)
Nov. 6th 1-4:30 pm
Douglas County OSU Extension kitchen
Topics covered: Types of lacto-fermented foods, where to find recipes, food safety and critical canning steps, labeling and recordkeeping requirements, hands-on sauerkraut making, taste test pickles and sauerkraut and made with cucumbers and cabbages grown in Small Farms variety trials.

Acidic Foods (jams, jellies, fruit syrups, etc.)
Nov. 20th 1-4:30 pm
Douglas County OSU Extension kitchen
Topics covered: Types of acidic foods, where to find recipes, critical canning steps, labeling and recordkeeping requirements, hands-on jam making, taste test acidic foods.

Registration details Field to Market Essentials*
$15 for one individual; $25 for two farm business partners.
* This workshop is required if you want to take any of the hands-on workshops.
Hands-on Value-Added Products Workshops (Acidified, Dehydrated, Lacto-fermented & Acidic) are $30 each ($25 each if you take more than one hands-on workshop)
Space is limited in the hands-on workshops. Sign-up early!
Fees includes worksheets and handouts, materials for hands-on activities, hours of detailed instruction led by Extension Faculty and successful local farmers, and refreshments at each session.
To register go to: extension.oregonstate.edu/douglas/
or contact Coleen Keedah at 541-672-4461
Questions? Contact Sara Runkel at 541-236-3049 sara.runkel@oregonstate.edu Douglas County OSU Extension Office, 1134 SE Douglas Ave. Roseburg, OR 97470

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Ripples Upon Ripples

Terra - Fri, 11/18/2016 - 11:12am

By Rachel Robertson

Out on the ocean, a wave-energy converter heaves, rocks and pitches to the motion of the waves. How the converter interacts with the water to generate power is at the core of creating devices that can be commercially viable. And it has been a missing piece of information for wave-energy simulation tools — until now.

Researchers in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University recently completed a year-long experimental testing project at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Laboratory to do just that. The research was part of a $4.5 million effort initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy for Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to create a simulation software tool to advance wave energy research.

“Wave energy is a nascent technology — there’s a long way to go before we have utility-scale deployments of wave farms like you see with wind and solar,” said Kelley Ruehl, co-principal investigator from Sandia National Laboratories and an Oregon State alumnus in mechanical engineering. She was co-advised by Professor Bob Paasch (mechanical engineering) and Ted Brekken (electrical and computer engineering).

“Using simulations is an inexpensive way of evaluating the performance of different devices in comparison to one another or in testing out design changes. So having a good simulation tool is a critical step in design optimization,” she said.

Although other simulation tools exist, they are proprietary and not designed specifically for wave energy converters. The open-source code that the team developed is called WEC-Sim (for wave energy converter simulator).

“The intent of having an open-source code project was to have a tool that users can add features to themselves,” Ruehl said.

And so they have. The code was initially released in 2014, and in the first year there were only a handful of users. But Ruehl said over the last year there has been widespread adoption of the code. Programmers have been actively incorporating user modifications.

Last year the project moved to the experimental testing phase, which is when Oregon State entered the picture. “When we were looking at different test facilities, Oregon State, with its expertise in wave energy and the facilities at Hinsdale, was the obvious choice,” said Ruehl, who headed up the testing.

The Oregon State team involved with tank testing and data collection of the scale model (1/33 size of a full wave energy converter) included Asher Simmons and Ratanak So, graduate students in electrical and computer engineering. They were advised by Professor Ted Broken. Another collaborator, Bret Bosma, was a post-doc at the time and is now a faculty research associate.

Testing with an actual wave-energy converter was critical. Its structure is more complicated than that of other ocean vessels. Data from boats interacting with water are available, but the information is insufficient because wave-energy converters have two or more rigid bodies that interact in close proximity. In turn, that leads to more complicated interactions with the water.

“If you are standing in a lake, and you throw a rock as far out as you can, by the time the ripples get to your legs they’re hardly anything. But if you drop a rock right next to you, the ripples hit your leg and cause more ripples. It is the interaction causing more ripples that we don’t understand,” Simmons said.

Sensors on the body of the device and in the tank contributed to 62 total data signals, including measurements of force, position and the height of the waves. The system included a new use of a sensor — a pressure mat — located on the flaps of the device. It generates a field of pressure measurements that engineers could use to create a map of the wave impact on the flap.

Because the device was so highly instrumented, Simmons used the opportunity for a side project to determine the most efficient use of sensors. Some of the sensors have price tags that are out of reach for developers of wave-energy devices in the early stages of testing. So his research will help inform researchers about which sensors are critical to collecting good data, where the sensors would be best placed and how to correct the data if they are using non-optimal sensors.

“We really need this,” said Simmons, explaining that developers often don’t have the funds to properly test power take-off until far too late in the process, creating products that are not commercially viable. “My hope is that developers can use this information much earlier to get a better feel for how much power they will be able to extract,” he said.

The data from the testing phase will be publicly available through the WEC-Sim website and it will also be used to validate the WEC-Sim software.

For the researchers at Oregon State, the project was a great opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort to advance wave-energy technology. In addition to the two national labs and Oregon State, a local engineering firm (Andrews-Cooper) and a Spanish company (+D), collaborated on the project.

“I like physical modeling and working on real engineering problems, and wave energy is an extremely challenging one,” Bret Bosma said. “This was a very complicated system with a lot of sensors and a lot of data, and so it was a really nice platform to work on.”

The post Ripples Upon Ripples appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs


Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Thu, 11/10/2016 - 2:29pm

Trustworthiness. An interesting topic.

Today is November 9, 2016. An auspicious day, to be sure. (No, I’m not going to rant about November 8, 2016; just post this and move on with my living.) Keep in mind trustworthiness, I remind myself.

I had the interesting opportunity to review a paper recently that talked about trustworthiness. This caused me much thought as I was troubled by what was written. I decided to go to my source on “Naturalistic Inquiry” . Given that the paper used a qualitative design, employed a case study method, and talked about trustworthiness, I wanted to find out more. This book was written by two of my long time evaluation guides, Yvonna Lincoln and Egon Guba. (Lincoln’s name may be familiar to you from the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research which she co-edited with Norman Denzin.)


On page 218, they talk about trustworthiness. About the conventional criteria for trustworthiness (internal validity, external validity, reliability, and objectivity). They talk about the questions underlying those criteria (see page 218).

They talk about how the criteria formulated by conventional inquirers are not appropriate for naturalistic inquiry. Guba (1981a) offers four new terms as they have “…a better fit with naturalistic epistemology.” These four terms and the terms they propose to replace are:

  1. credibility (rather than internal validity);
  2. transferability (rather than external validity);
  3. dependability (rather than reliability);
  4. confirmability (rather than objectivity).

They refer the reader to Chapter 11 (which begins on page 289 of the above mentioned book [also cited below]).

Guba (1981) proposed “…certain operational techniques that a naturalist can use to establish credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.”

He (Guba, 1981) specifically talks about “…prolonged engagement and persistent observations, triangulation, peer debriefing, negative case analysis, and member checking…thick description…auditing…and confirmability.”

my .




Guba, E. G. (1981). Criteria for assessing trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 29, 75-92.

Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

The post Trustworthiness appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Protecting your Well & Septic System

Small Farms Events - Wed, 11/09/2016 - 2:35pm
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Amy Patton, Hydrologist   ($5 discount with OSU vol. badge) Learn how to keep your well water clean and how to maintain your septic system.  Bring 1 cup of well water to discover your    Nitrate concentration and how they fit with Nitrate levels in the valley.     
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Land Stewardship Workshop Series

Small Farms Events - Tue, 11/08/2016 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Land Stewardship Workshop Series

Have you recently purchased a rural property or are looking to purchase rural property?  This survey workshop series is meant to introduce relevant issues regarding land ownership and provide answers and tips from local experts for new property owners to be successful land managers!

November 8th, 6-8pm : Tax Assessments for Rural Properties and Noxious Weed Management

Presented by :  Scott Maytubby and Derrick Wharff, Current and Incumbent Yamhill County Tax Assessor and Michael Crabtree, Yamhill SWCD

Cost: $15/class  **Cost includes dinner**

Location: Chemeketa Community College McMinnville

Campus: 288 NE Norton Ln, McMinnville, OR 97128

To Register Online Please visit: Yamhillswcd.org 

To Register by Phone please call : (503) 472-6403



Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Classroom in View

Terra - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 4:36pm

By Abby Metzger

A GAZE into the Future

IN THE FRAMED MAP OF THE UNITED STATES that Jamon Van Den Hoek keeps in his office, black lines crisscross the landscape in puzzle fashion. They arch around mountains, curve across rivers and skirt lakeshores. Then, they converge and cluster around big cities like knots in a shoelace. It’s a map of roads in America, he explains. Though the image is striking in its simplicity, Van Den Hoek, a geographer in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, knows it is out of date. The map is single and unchanging, more archive or artwork than truth.

But Van Den Hoek has questions. What if a classroom could have a massive, digital projection of the map, layered with years of data on light pollution or urban expansion? What if students could explore these data at different spatial and temporal scales, witnessing landscape change in almost real time using images collected from different satellites? And what if students could then share their science and engage the public using deeply visual storytelling?

Van Den Hoek is poised to bring that capability to Oregon State University. He and colleagues are spearheading the newly launched GAZE facility (Geospatial Analysis and VisualiZation for Education), a state-of-the art learning space that will allow students to explore a wide range of dynamic geographic processes and datasets.

At the heart of GAZE is a 12 ft. by 7 ft. hyperwall, an immersive 3×3 grid of computer monitors backed by a distributed infrastructure that is capable of handling large datasets. Coupled to the hyperwall is an augmented reality sandbox, which allows students to create and manipulate terrain models by moving sand into hills or valleys (see “Augmented Reality Sand Table” at the end of this story). Students will not only get to explore existing digital maps of, say, forest cover over the last decade in the Pacific Northwest, but develop their own programming scripts to create original visualizations of environmental or social changes.

“We want to get to a point where students are asking new questions that haven’t been asked before,” says Van Den Hoek, whose own research includes using satellites to understand landscape impacts stemming from armed conflict. “Students will be able to dynamically manipulate climate models and really go face-to-face with the complexity of a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake, oxygen deficits in the coastal ocean or mining effects on the local environment.”

GAZE is just one example of the innovative facilities in CEOAS that are challenging the status quo of learning about our changing planet and population. Collaborative spaces and robust computing offer opportunities for students to learn in a way they never could before — in step with planetary changes while exploring their own research questions, diving into big datasets and learning the programming languages of the pros. Together with a cluster of new hires that are breaking down disciplinary walls, students will have access to both the talent and tools to discover an unseen Earth.

Always on, Always Connected

Geospatial facilities like GAZE owe their success to the microprocessor revolution. The miniaturization of devices has brought powerful computers into the palm of our hands, when they used to take up giant rooms. These technologies are also faster, cheaper and able to satisfy our “always-on, always-connected environment,” says Chuck Sears, head of Research Computing at CEOAS.

Likewise, in the scientific world, instruments are always on and connected, collecting vast amounts of data. In many cases, instruments are able to share and send data on demand. The velocity at which this occurs has surged in the last 30 to 40 years.

The end result? Emerging technologies that once were the sole province of big business have enabled the geospatial sciences to cover enormous ground, from cameras mounted on balloons more than a hundred years ago, to today’s satellites that allow us to visualize and map at scales far beyond our natural abilities.

The enormity and complexity of data have driven researchers to rethink how they teach geospatial concepts. Instead of a professor serving as the knowledge authority, educators have enlisted the help of students to explore the data and search out new patterns — a new kind of all-hands-on-deck approach to data mining.

“Today what we are seeing is an incredible desire from the students to be active participants and push the envelope,” Sears says. “Getting these types of facilities and technologies into the hands of eager students is essential, because they are the ones who will build the next generation of tools and contribute to the workforce and society.”

Anne Nolin agrees. As a geography professor in CEOAS, she has been using remote sensing techniques since the mid-1980s while witnessing the evolution of geospatial instruction and learning.

“GPS satellites have changed the world. They help us navigate through space, whether driving through Portland or playing Pokémon Go,” she says. “We want students engaged with this completely visual, big data, digital world. That’s where we are, and why we don’t want to rely on these traditional ways of teaching.”

GAZE allows Jamon Van Den Hoek and his students to explore data generated by satellites in near real time. (Photo: Dave Reinert)

Behind the curtain

In addition to novel facilities and advances in microprocessors, software access has become fluid. As a result, students can do their work from almost anywhere.

Karen Shell’s Climate Modeling class has been taking advantage. Two 60-inch, high-definition screens project a NASA climate model showing phytoplankton growth across the globe, a mass of hazy green swirling like smoke. Students huddle around computer workstations and discuss climate model datasets and Python codes. Each has been working with geospatial data to develop his or her own numerical model and unearth a facet of the climate system — where will the ocean warm the most in the next decade? The next century? And what will happen to biomass growth in a warming world? Their computers show possible answers to those questions in the form of graphs, histograms and other visualized data.

What is not visible is the application that enables this kind of experiential learning. Behind the scenes, an open-source, web-based interface called Jupyter Notebook provides a platform for students to share Python scripts and code collaboratively. And soon, students will be hitching up to Jupyter through a local server, allowing them to access their codes and model runs from any computer. Where they once had to install specialized software, work from a lab or log in remotely, students will be able to easily share methodologies or compare results.

“With the new system, students will be able to use a web browser from any computer to get access to all the software they need,” says Shell, an atmospheric scientist at CEOAS. “By reducing this barrier, we can spend more time on the fun stuff of climate modeling and data analysis.”

Briana Phillips, a graduate student in atmospheric sciences and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow, has been applying concepts in Shell’s course to study the Lorenz Attractor. Otherwise known as the butterfly effect, the Lorenz Attractor demonstrates that a small change in initial conditions can cause a very different outcome. In the context of weather prediction models, it explains why it is difficult to predict the weather much more than a week out.

Phillips says the Jupyter Notebook, together with the small class size, made it easier to collaborate.

“This class has been my most challenging, but it’s also the class where I’ve learned the most. We do a lecture, then a lab. We can ask questions, help each other, share ideas. It’s an atmosphere really conducive to learning,” she says.

Undergraduate student Matt Laffin explored what would happen to the Earth’s habitable zone if our day was cut in half. Would the Earth freeze over? Could we still live in certain places, and for how long? It might seem sci-fi, but his project provides insight into whether a newly discovered planet — with a different size, orbit or atmospheric composition — could support life.

The what-if nature of Shell’s class is compelling evidence that teaching geospatial sciences has moved from inference-driven to inquiry-driven. Boundaries between professor and pupil, between disciplines, between the haves and have-nots of software access are gone. Like the static map in Jamon Van Den Hoek’s office, traditional ways of looking at our planet from a distance have been redrawn.

What is left? Only the most unimagined map of the world, one that holds a story yet to be told.

Mark Farley with Oregon Sea Grant shows off the Visitor Center’s Augmented Reality (AR) sand
table at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The cyberlab research platform is not only fun to play with; it provides a means of teaching complex concepts, in this case, map topography. Visitors can play with the sand to create hills and valleys, and the AR component projects colors corresponding to the resulting land and water elevations, along with topographic contour lines (Photo by Lynn Ketchum).

Editor’s note: Abby Metzger is a communicator with the Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

The post Classroom in View appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

New edition of Confluence now available

Breaking Waves - Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:50am

The fall/winter 2016 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s semiannual newsletter, Confluence, is now available online. Articles you’ll find in this issue:

  • Guidelines help boaters enjoy watching whales without disturbing them;
  • University of Oregon study reveals why hypoxia hasn’t affected Coos Bay;
  • Simulator helps coastal residents prepare tsunami evacuation strategy;
  • Students get their feet wet in watershed science with StreamWebs;
  • Oregon Sea Grant helps prepare coastal kids for high-tech jobs; and
  • When human health affects environmental health.

You can download a free PDF here.

The post New edition of Confluence now available appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits

Breaking Waves - Fri, 09/30/2016 - 8:56am

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant demonstrate how to collect and identify aquatic insects and test water quality using kits available from StreamWebs.

One of the videos, How to use StreamWebs’ macroinvertebrate kit, shows educators how to teach students to collect and identify aquatic insects using the macroinvertebrate kit and data sheets. The other, How to use StreamWebs’ LaMotte water quality kit, shows how to teach students to test water quality using a kit with equipment made by LaMotte.

The kits are among several that educators can borrow from StreamWebs, a program administered by Oregon Sea Grant. StreamWebs provides educators with field equipment, data sheets, lesson plans and training so they can teach students how to collect data about the health of waterways. It also provides an online database where students can enter and analyze the information they gathered.

Both videos were produced by Oregon Sea Grant’s Renee O’Neill and Vanessa Cholewczynski and shot and edited by Cholewczynski. Special thanks to Angela Clegg with the South Santiam Watershed Council; students from Foster Elementary School in Sweet Home, Oregon; Grayson Johnston; and Zethan Brandenburger.

The post New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!


endless pasta


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.


Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs